What Are the Causes of Miscommunication With Teens?


If it seems like you’re repeating commands or fighting with your teenager on a regular basis, it’s likely the result of miscommunication. Clear the air and establish clarity with your by pinpointing common causes of miscommunication.

Recognize Differences

  • One of the biggest contributors to miscommunication is that parents believe their children have the same ideas and visions that they do, says Nancy Buck, Denver-based psychologist and author of “Peaceful Parenting” and “How to Be a Great Parent.” When a parent says “Don’t be late” but expects a child to report at noon, the child may interpret being on time as 12:15. Clear up the miscommunication by using specific language and rid your conversations of any assumptions.

Allow More Freedom

  • The fireworks between parents and teens begin when the battle for power ensues. Teens want more freedom and responsibility while parents have difficulty letting go. If parents with teens could cooperate with their teen’s greater need for power and freedom by letting the teen be in charge more often, or at least negotiate for a mutually agreed upon position, there would be less disagreements and miscommunication between them, says Buck.

Build Rapport

  • Miscommunication occurs often between parents and teens when good rapport is lacking. To help minimize the possibility of a miscommunication, the lines of communication need to remain open during the good times, says Christina Steinorth, California-based psychotherapist and author of “Cue Cards for Life.” When open communication is encouraged, it’s likely that teens will feel more comfortable confiding in their parents during the bad times as well.

Spend Time Together

  • When a teen feels distant from a parent, the chance of miscommunication is increased. The best way to keep an ongoing positive rapport with your teen is to not let him drift away from you, says Steinorth. Have family dinners, praise the positive attributes in your teen when you see him and ask about his day. When your teen has a positive relationship with you, there are less chances for miscommunication and misunderstandings, says Steinorth.


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